1. The issue is urgent.
The effects of climate change are already evident. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that to keep warming below 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world must reach virtual carbon neutrality by 2050. In our view, this 2050 deadline is the bare minimum. The faster we can reduce emissions and the more warming we can prevent, the less disastrous the effects of climate change will be. Every 0.1 degree Celsius of warming we can prevent equates to saved lives, saved ecosystems, and a more livable Earth for future generations.
The IPCC has made it clear that there is no level of warming that does not impact human life and the natural world.
2. The goal is achievable.
Many of the world’s top companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. Iowa already gets 60 percent of its electricity from wind, and is developing solar as well as sequestration options.
For sectors where it is more technologically difficult to reach carbon neutrality, or where Ames does not have direct control, carbon offsets can be produced or purchased to negate carbon emissions. Prioritizing local carbon offset projects, such as expanding urban forests, developing agricultural carbon sequestration projects, and increasing renewable energy production will develop other community assets.
3. 2030 is strategic.
Setting a zero CO2e goal for 2030 lets us find out what is possible: The consultant will develop a plan to achieve that goal, and we can then evaluate the costs.
Setting a zero CO2e goal for 2030 encourages the development of local offset projects that can take advantage of Iowa’s agricultural resources.
Setting a zero CO2e goal for 2030 including offsets leaves flexibility as to the means of achieving it. Further, if 2030 turns out to be too expensive, it leaves time to develop a plan that still meets IPCC recommendations.
4. Assuming leadership strengthens Ames
By assuming leadership in this area Ames will be more attractive to residents and businesses. Innovation that will allow us to reach this goal will strengthen Ames and build its economy. In order to assume leadership Ames needs to move quickly.
5. 2030 means the action starts now.
Starting now increases the impact of Ames climate action. A 2030 goal will make sure that action starts immediately. Keeping the 2030 deadline and adjusting the CO2e goal is likely to be more effective than moving the deadline.
6. Ames has a responsibility to lead.
In order to limit warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world as a whole must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This is only possible if cities like Ames, which have already made progress and have the assets to move quickly, do move quickly.